updated 02/18/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/18/2013 AT 1:15 PM ET
Mindy McCready’s tragic suicide on Sunday makes the country singer the fifth person who has starred in Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew to die in the past two years.
“I am deeply saddened by this awful news. My heart goes out to Mindy’s family and children. She is a lovely woman who will be missed by many,” Dr. Drew Pinsky told PEOPLE in a statement. “Although I have not treated her for a few years, I had reached out to her recently upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger children. She was devastated.”
He continued: “Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority. Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.”
Prior to McCready’s death at just 37 years old, Joey Kovar, a Real World participant died last August while Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr died in 2011, both because of overdoses. All three appeared on season 3 of the VH1 reality series.
“Mental health issues can be life threatening and need to be treated with the same intensity and resources as any other dangerous potentially life threatening medical condition,” Pinsky added. “Treatment is effective. If someone you know is suffering please be sure he or she gets help and maintains treatment.”